At the young FinTech Carl, everything revolves around medium-sized companies and the search for company successors. “In the past few years, we have developed from a small start-up into a permanent fixture in the market,” says founder Kurosch Habibi.
Wednesday, January 26, 2022By Alexander Hüsing
Behind the Berlin FinTech Carl, which was founded in 2016 by Kurosch Habibi and Pascal Stichler, is a platform for medium-sized company sales. “Carl uses technology and personal advice to help entrepreneurs sell their businesses. In this way, Carl is making a major contribution to solving the ever-increasing problem of succession in medium-sized companies,” says founder Habibi, explaining the concept of the young company.
The Berlin investor Project A Ventures, the Unger family (Auto-Teile-Unger – ATU) and various business angels have invested around 6 million euros in the company in recent years. 40 employees currently work for the FinTech. “Of course, we are particularly pleased that we have already been able to successfully accompany dozens of transactions and offer thousands of investors improved access to this market,” says the Carl-Macher.
In an interview with deutsche-startups.de, founder Habibi also talks about delays, the initial phase and stumbling blocks.
How would you explain Carl to your grandmother?
Carl supports entrepreneurs in selling their company through technology and personal advice. Carl thus makes a major contribution to solving the ever-increasing problem of succession in medium-sized companies.
Has the concept, the business model, changed in any way over the past few years?
Our concept has constantly evolved over the past few years, but has never fundamentally changed. Our goal is to enable the most professional, reliable and fast sales process possible, and to that end we are continuously expanding our software and optimizing business processes.
How exactly does your business model work?
We usually work on a sale on behalf of the shareholders of a company and are largely paid on a success-related basis. With our Carl Connect platform, we are able to bring entrepreneurs, consultants and investors together and connect them in the best possible way.
The Corona crisis has recently hit the startup scene hard. How did you feel the effects?
Fortunately, we can say that we got through the corona pandemic quite well. We too had occasional delays or uncertainties about the progress of projects in 2020 and parts of 2021, but overall we are very satisfied with the success of the transactions and our own development.
How did the idea for Carl come about?
We wanted to give medium-sized entrepreneurs the opportunity to develop their potential. An unresolved succession is a major obstacle for many companies, and at the same time we have seen that large companies have very good access to solutions of this type. Bringing these opportunities to medium-sized companies is what drives us.
How has Carl developed since it was founded?
In the past few years, we have developed from a small start-up to a permanent fixture in the market. We are currently a team of around 40 employees, mostly based in Berlin but active throughout Germany. Of course, we are particularly pleased that we have already been able to successfully accompany dozens of transactions and offer thousands of investors improved access to this market.
Please take a look back: What has gone really wrong in the past few years?
Every business, especially in the early stages, goes through ups and downs. Not everything we tried worked. But it is much more important what you make of it. We saw every stumbling block as an opportunity to grow, learn from it and improve.
And where have you done everything right so far?
The decision to offer a solution with a mixture of man and machine for medium-sized companies was definitely the right one. We see that our offer is getting better and better acceptance on the market and that it solves a real problem.
Where will Carl be in a year?
We want to become the clear market leader among German medium-sized companies for everything to do with succession and company sales. Whether we will be the clear number one in a year’s time cannot yet be said with certainty, but we will do our best.
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